Government Committed To Mandatory Detention On Christmas Island

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16th December 2009, 03:05am - Views: 909

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Media Contact: Cian Manton – (02) 6277 7860 or 0413 760 818

Media release

Senator Chris Evans

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship


                  16 December 2009


Government committed to mandatory detention on Christmas Island

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today reiterated the

Government’s commitment to mandatory detention and offshore processing of irregular

maritime arrivals on Christmas Island.

The Government rejects many of Amnesty International’s claims which follow its recent visit

to Christmas Island. Irregular maritime arrivals are receiving fair and humane treatment and

Australia is not in breach of its international obligations.

Senator Evans said these policies were essential components of strong border control and

important elements in ensuring the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.

When announcing the government’s key immigration detention values, the Minister made

clear that the values would apply on Christmas Island to the full extent possible within the

government's excision and non-statutory refugee status processing arrangements – and

that commitment is being met.

While there is no statutory obligation to process asylum claims on Christmas Island within a

particular timeframe, the vast majority of claims are being dealt with in about 100 days.

Those who have been detained longer are still undergoing the comprehensive health,

identity and security checking process.

No unaccompanied minor has been accommodated on Christmas Island for six months and

the Government ensures priority processing for them, with the average processing time for

unaccompanied minors being about 90 days.

It is Rudd Government policy that no child be held in an immigration detention centre. The

low-security construction camp, where some children are housed on Christmas Island, is

not an immigration detention centre and it has appropriate recreational facilities.

All people in immigration detention are provided with access to a range of health services,

including mental health care, commensurate to those available to the broader Australian


In line with this Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability, Amnesty

International visited Christmas Island with the full assistance of the Department of

Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

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